Category Archives: News

US football chief: rest of the world will follow youth heading ban

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A US football chief believes that the rest of the world will eventually catch up with the United States’ pioneering ban on heading in youth football.

Kevin Payne, the chief executive of US Club Soccer and principally involved in youth football, was involved in the discussions which led to the restrictions back in 2015.

“While there is not a lot of direct evidence or research which draws a straight-line correlation between heading a ball at young ages and potential issues later in life we think it is a logical assumption as younger children’s technique will not be as good and their brains are not as fully developed,” Payne said.

“Until such time as that research has been completed and there are conclusions to be drawn we thought it was much safer to err on the side of caution.”

Part of the issue is that no one really knows what are the consequences of heading a ball at this young age,” he added. “Until we do know the answer the only responsible course of action is to do everything possible to minimise the chance of it creating problems.There were some individuals who were not happy about it and I am sure there are still, the old guard who think it is silly not to allow heading.”

In the meantime, a major study into the long-term effects of heading and potential links to dementia and brain damage commissioned by the Football Association and PFA began two months ago, although initial findings are not expected for at least three years.

Pep Guardiola: Man City needs decade of dominance to catch up to Barca

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Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City have to dominate for at least a decade to be considered at the level of FC Barcelona.

City host Basel in Wednesday’s Champions League last-16 second leg holding a 4-0 advantage, but despite their dominating performance throughout this season Guardiola is adamant they remain below the quality of FC Barcelona

“They have won a lot in the past. We are new — we’ve won one title [the League Cup] but it is not a [fair] comparison,” Guardiola said. “It is not good for us comparing [ourselves] with that Barcelona team.”

“That team dominated the last decade, 15 to 20 years with different managers, different players. We have just won the first title. To join this kind of team you have to be there a long time.”

Guardiola also said Martin Glenn did not understand what the yellow ribbon he wears represents when the Football Association chief executive compared it with the swastika and ISIS.

Glenn has since apologised and Guardiola said: “My first impression when I heard that was he didn’t understand exactly what the yellow ribbon means. He made a comment that was far away from what it means. Maybe now he will realise. It’s not about independence or no independence.”

“It’s about four people who are in jail [in Catalonia] when they didn’t do absolutely anything to be in jail for. I think with his comments he didn’t understand the reality of what happened right now with the situation but I’m pretty sure now he will know it.”

Having accepted an FA charge of “wearing a political message”, Guardiola added that he will stop wearing the ribbon.

“At the end there are rules,” the former Barca and Bayern Munich coach said. “They [FA] have them and they apply them, I accept the decision because I have to. I accept them but it doesn’t mean I agree with the decision. But I am here, I am working here and there are rules and I accept them.”

Samir Nasri handed six-month ban for doping violation

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Former France international Samir Nasri has been banned from football for six months for an anti-doping violation dating from 2016.

UEFA says Nasri has been found guilty of using a “prohibited method” in violation of the World Anti-Doping Code as well as UEFA’s own anti-doping regulations.

The European football’s governing body, which opened disciplinary proceedings against the Frenchman on March 6 last year, said in a statement on Tuesday afternoon: “The player Samir Nasri has been found guilty for using a prohibited method in accordance with sub-section M2, par. 2 of the WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) prohibited list.

“In this context, the CEDB (control, ethics and disciplinary body) has decided to suspend Samir Nasri for six months for violation of the World Anti-doping Code and the Uefa anti-doping regulations.

“This decision was taken on 22 February and is open to appeal.”

A Los Angeles clinic, Drip Doctors, posted a photo of Nasri on its Facebook and Twitter accounts in December 2016, saying it provided him with a drip “to help keep him hydrated and in top health during his busy soccer season.”

He was playing at Spanish team Sevilla at the time, on loan from Manchester City, when he received 500 millilitres of hydration in the form of sterile water containing micronutrient components on December 26, 2016, while on holiday.

Wada rules state there is a 50 millilitre infusion limit per six-hour period for active athletes. A request by Sevilla for a retroactive therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for Nasri was refused in February 2017 by UEFA, whose decision was later upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Nasri is currently without a club after recently having his contract terminated at Antalyaspor in Turkey.

Alexis Sanchez accepts prison sentence but will avoid jail time

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Alexis Sanchez’s agent has confirmed that his client has accepted a prison sentence for tax fraud in Spain.

Reports on Wednesday revealed that the Manchester United forward had agreed a deal with the state attorney to accept charges against him for defrauding the Spanish treasury of €1m while he was at FC Barcelona in 2012-13.

Official accounts stated that the Chilean International had used a company based in Malta to receive image rights paid by the Catalan club

Sanchez has accepted the charges while also agreeing to a 16-month prison sentence. He will repay the amount in full, plus interest, but with the prison sentence being less than two years he will not serve any time in jail.

However, Sanchez’s agent Fernando Felicevich described the agreement as “entirely unjust” and accused the Spanish authorities for effectively forcing him and other players into signing the deal.

“Once again, there has been a leak from the Spanish tax office, [this time] outlining an agreement between our client Alexis Sánchez and public prosecutors,” Felicevich said in a statement.

The agent accused the state of changing its interpretation of the law and pursuing professional footballers, particularly foreigners, exercising pressure through “obscene” leaks to the media and the threat of long legal processes and prison sentences.

“Despite having demonstrated that Alexis has committed no crime, we have been obliged, following the recommendations of our [legal] advisers, to accept the unjustified pact offered in order to palliate the emotional, personal and economic cost of long, tedious, trials where the media are used to publicly expose and judge private matters.”